South African Rand Still Firmer

rand

VENTURES AFRICA – The South African rand was steadier against a basket of currencies, including the dollar, on Wednesday morning.

This show was despite the fact that international background remained negative this morning.

The currency consolidated an astoundingly robust show in the previous sessions after weaker-than-expected economic growth figures were released.

The currency was a little changed this morning, trading at 8.84 rand (about $1) against the greenback.

“But the trend for the rand gains remains strong,” Rand Merchant Bank said in a statement.

It is believed that investors were probably paying attention to a speech by Reserve Bank Governor Gill Marcus at a conference of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA).

She will address the pre-National Bargaining Conference (NBC) of NUMSA today in Randburg, Gauteng province.

Numsa said the NBC would be taking place within the context of the on-going struggles for a living wage, sharpening income inequalities amongst the rich and the poor and growing arrogance by capitalist bosses to undermine the bargain power of the unions in our country.

The core mandate of the pre-NBC is to assist the union in collating all the necessary research in relation to the socio economic indicators and wage trends over the past 3 years so as to be well prepared for the forthcoming bargaining season in 2013, as well as to set-out a framework for the 2013 bargaining strategy in the following strategic sectors of our economy, namely Auto, Tyre, Motor, Eskom and House Agreements.

Numsa’s pre-NBC would also reflect on the recent developments within the mining and farming worker strikes to analyse the underlying political, economic and organisational challenges for the trade union movement going forward. This, NUMSA said, should be done from a class perspective.

The pre-NBC will be attended by 190 worker delegates drawn from the main sectors that will be bargaining next year (2013).

Marcus left the repo rate unchanged at a four-decade low of 5.0 percent last week and warned that strikes in the mining sector and beyond since August would lead to job losses in the country.

Analysts believe South Africa is already struggling with unemployment of over 25 percent. But Statistics SA recently said unemployment rates in South Africa stands at 29 percent.

Tuesday’s GDP statistics drove home that point, showing that growth slowed sharply in the third quarter after a big contraction in the strike-hit mining sector.

Meanwhile, the JSE was trading slightly weaker on Wednesday morning‚ in line with Asian markets‚ with concern about the looming US fiscal cliff weighing on world market sentiment and offsetting the positive news of progress made on the Greek debt situation.

The All Share Index was down 0.34 percent to 37‚678.10 points‚ with banks showing some upside with a 0.26 percent rise.